Sunday, May 28, 2017

Milan giants make encouraging start to the season

David Nugent in Editorial, Serie A 23 Sep 2015

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Roberto Mancini has guided Inter to a perfect start to their Serie A campaign

Roberto Mancini has guided Inter to a perfect start to their Serie A campaign

For a while now Italian football has been dominated by Turin giants Juventus.

The Old Lady have been the unstoppable force in Serie A. Four consecutive Scudetto’s were claimed, shortly after their return to the top-flight after demotion following a betting scandal.

Juventus’ success in Serie A was helped by the fact that Italian clubs had fallen on hard times and the all-round standard was not great.

The likes of Inter and AC Milan had become complacent, and Juventus took advantage of that complacency to become champions.

Exits

Juventus were Champions League finalists last season as well as champions, but the Bianconeri have made a poor start to the defence of their Serie A crown. The summer exits of long-serving players Arturo Vidal, Andrea Pirlo and Carlos Tevez obviously upset the balance of the team.

Juve did bring in the likes of Sami Khedira, Mario Mandzukic, Juan Cuadrado and Paulo Dybala in the summer transfer window. Dybala and Mandzukic have not made bad starts, but the rest of the Juventus team seem to have a post-Champions League final defeat hangover.

Tough

AC Milan and Inter are traditional powerhouses of the Italian game, but both clubs have encountered tough times in recent seasons.

Last season AC and Inter finished tenth and eight respectably in Serie A, with both teams missing out on European qualification. Both clubs have struggled for stability in the last few years, as manager after manager have come and gone at the Milan clubs.

Milan has attempted to bring back former-glories by employing former-stars Clarence Seedorf and Pippo Inzaghi as the teams head coach. Neither could help revive the flailing fortunes of the Rossoneri.

Inter have also had their fair share of bosses in recent years with the likes of Claudio Ranieri, Andrea Stramaccioni and Walter Mazzarri all failing to re-produce Inter’s glory days.

Encouraging

Inter’s current boss Roberto Mancini was appointed last summer in an attempt to rediscover the sort of success the Nerazzurri had under Mancini in his first spell, and Jose Mourinho in the following two seasons.

Mancini may have only guided the team to eighth last season, but it seems the clubs owners are prepared to give the former-Manchester City boss some time to get it right.

The signs are good for Inter in Mancini’s second stint, as they have started their campaign with five straight wins in Serie A, including a derby win over AC.

Former-Sampdoria boss Sinisa Mihajlovic has also made a decent start with the Rossoneri, picking up three wins in his first five Serie A games in charge of his new team. The Serbian could finally be the man to move AC forward.

The likes of Mario Balotelli and Carlos Bacca have made decent starts to life in Milan and look like they could help AC to be successful again in the future. Balotelli struggled at Liverpool, but scored a fantastic goal against Udinese in a 3-2 victory on Tuesday night.

Bacca has struck three times for Milan since his summer arrival from Spanish club Sevilla. The Colombian has carried on at Milan where he left off in Spain by scoring goals.

Open

Despite a poor start to their Serie A campaign, reigning champions Juventus are still favourites to win the Scudetto at odds of 6/4, with Inter odds of 4/1 and AC Milan are odds of 16/1 to win the Italian title this season.

The Bianconeri may be title favourites, but unlike other seasons they do not look so assured. At the beginning of most of the recent Italian campaigns, Juventus have looked imperious, but this seasons race for the Scudetto could turn out to be rather more open.

Can either of the Milan giants challenge for the Serie A title?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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